This is when Waitrose will close in Torquay as staff say what will replace it

The Torquay branch of Waitrose is set to close in June and staff have been told that new owners Lidl will not reopen the store in Plainmoor for at least six months.

Some fear the land will be sold for a flats redevelopment. There was shock when Waitrose dropped a bombshell at the beginning of March by announcing it had already sold both the Torquay and five-year-old Teignmouth stores.

Now staff at the store have confirmed that there were 207 redundancies across the two stores. In Torquay some staff have worked for nearly 30 years at the same supermarket – 10 years as Waitrose and 20 when it was Somerfield.

There is already a nearby Lidl in Torquay near Torbay Hospital and a brand new branch nearby in Paignton. Staff fear that Lidl will never reopen the Plainmoor site as a supermarket.

A staff member said: “We were told that Lidl has bought the building but they won’t reopen it for six months. I don’t think they will open a second Lidl in Torquay. This isn’t really the right shape for a Lidl store  the warehouse is underneath in the basement and that’s not how Lidl works.

“I think they will knock this down and build flats on it.”


The Waitrose in Plainmoor, Torquay

The Waitrose in Plainmoor, Torquay

One member of staff said: “It will close of June 9 – but the meat and fish counters will be gone before then. The staff will still be here until June 14 clearing up.

“It will be very sad because some people have just celebrated their 25th anniversary of working here – 10 years as Waitrose and before that when it was Somerfield.

“A lot of us have worked here for a long time and it is very sad. I wish they hadn’t given us three months notice in a way- three weeks would have been better. It’s hard to carry on dealing with the public when everybody has lost all their motivation.”


Another member of staff said: “It’s sad because there are more than 90 staff here and some people have worked here nearly 30 years. In total , with the Teignmouth store there are 207 redundancies in total. It’s hard to find another job when so many people are looking.

“Out of the non-managers only one of the staff that I know of is transferring to another Waitrose store. A few of the managers are staying with the company but they have to go wherever they are sent.

“I don’t drive so I can’t go and work in Exeter.”

A Waitrose employee leaving work said: “There’s 97 staff here and the Lidl in Torquay only has 25 staff – there’s not going to be a lot of new jobs going even if they do reopen this as a supermarket.”

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Waitrose & Partners dropped a bombshell when it confirmed at the beginning of March that it is pulling out of the Teignmouth and Torquay.

The high-end supermarket chain confirmed it had already sold the sites “to another retailer.”

German chain Lidl had always been rumoured to be the new owner, reportedly adding Torquay and Teignmouth to more than 10,000 branches across Europe and the US.

The budget supermarket giant has recently opened a brand new branch nearby in Paignton and has a popular store near Torbay Hospital on the old Newton Road which is limited by a small, often overflowing car park.

We have approached Lidl for a comment on several occasions, but they have so far been unable to comment on the matter.


30 famous people you never knew lived in Torquay

There was once a time when Torquay was home to the finest minds of their day – famous scientists and literary giants, world leaders, kings and queens all visited, and many stopped and made their homes in the area.

Here we take a look back at the great and the good – and the sometimes positively evil – people who have lived in the resort over the years. Some of them and their stories make shocking and surprising reading.

Rastafarian Emperor Haile Selassie

Haile Selassie, spiritual leader of the Rastas, lived in Torquay


Emperor of Ethiopia and spiritul leader of the Rastafarians Haile Selassie and his wife occupied the Villa Romero after Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935 under Mussolini. Haile Selassie spent his exile years (1936–41) in the Westcountry.

The same Victorian villa in Stitchill Road was also the first home in Torquay used by Isambard Kingdom Brunel who lived there with his family in 1848.

Donald Sinclair (aka Basil Fawlty)


The opening credits of Fawlty Towers in 1979

The opening credits of Fawlty Towers in 1979 with the infamous anagram

The retired Naval officer – who twice survived the sinking of his ship in World War II – ran the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay. He was the inspiration for the Fawlty Towers character created by comic writer John Cleese (whose character in the film Rat Race was also named Donald Sinclair in homage).

The Monty Python cast arrived in Torquay in May 1970 to film large chunks of Series 2 on location around the Bay and booked into the hotel – the rest of the team swiftly moved out and Cleese said Sinclair was “the rudest man I’ve ever come across in my life.”

But Cleese and co-writer Connie Boorh stayed on to observe his behaviour – which included his criticism of Terry Gilliam’s ‘too American’ table etiquette and tossing Eric Idle’s briefcase out of a window ‘in case it contained a bomb’. Sinclair justified his actions by claiming the hotel had staff problems.

Fawlty Towers (which was not filmed in Torquay) became ‘the greatest ever British TV sitcom’ and sadly the hotel was recently pulled down to make way for new apartments.

Sinclair died in Torquay in 1981 aged 72, from a heart attack and stroke “when some workmen he’d upset painted his patio furniture and car gunmetal grey during the night” according to Wikipedia.


Charles Darwin

The blue plaque on the Osborne Hotel, Torquay, where Charles Darwin once lived, being unveiled.

Charles Darwin, author of The Origin of Species, lived at Meadfoot House in Hesketh Crecent – now the Osborne.

Darwin, whose epic work shook Victorian orthodox society to its roots, arrived in the resort in July 1861.

A sufferer of nervous ailments, he also chose the town for health reasons. He stayed with his family for eight weeks at Hesketh Crescent, but he stayed away from the resort’s rock pools.

He spent his time revising his great book and preparing a paper on the fertilisation of orchids for a scientific journal.

Lauren Pope – model and TOWIE actress

Lauren Pope

Lauren Pope

This actress and glamour model, who made her name in The Only Way Is Essex, hails from the Torquay area.

She made her name as a DJ and has even released a couple of albums – as well as being romantically linked to Prince Harry (several years ago).

Oscar Wilde was jailed for his Torquay affair

Oscar Wilde lived in Torquay


Oscar Wilde’s notorious homosexual affair with ‘Bosie’ (Lord Alfred Douglas) began in this Victorian retreat near Torquay.

Babbacombe Cliff was home for Wilde, one of Britain’s most famous playwrights, during the 1890s, and Bosie often stayed there with him.

Later a hotel, it was bought as a private house by a distant relative of Wilde’s wife. Lady Georgina Mount Temple – whose good works and philanthropy were immortalised with a drinking fountain on Babbacombe   Downs – leased the house to the writer and his family.

During his stay, Wilde  completed his play “A Woman of No Importance” and attended some rehearsals of “Lady Windermere’s Fan” which opened in the Royal Theatre (now the Merlin Cinema) in Abbey Road, Torquay, in January 1893. But he shied away from taking a bigger interest in the production, preferring instead to loll about the theatre, smoking innumerable Turkish cigarettes and occasionally sipping a glass of hock and seltzer.

“[T]here was no time happier, more irresponsibly mirthful and untroubled by cares of any kind,” declared his biographer, Rupert Croft-Cooke.

But Bosie’s father, the Marquis of Queensberry, discovered what was going on and blew Wilde’s world apart with his outraged allegations of homosexuality.


Homosexuality was classified as a crime in England at the time, and Wilde was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to two years of hard labour,after which he fled to France and wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), about harsh prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of 46.

Miranda Hart is from Torquay but posher than she likes to admit

One of Britain’s best comediennes, Miranda Hart was born and grew up in Torquay where she descends from a highly aristocratic background, although she hates to admit it! She is a fourth cousin, twice removed, of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Her father was commanding officer of HMS Coventry  which was sunk by the Argentinians in the 1982 Falklands conflict, and he was badly burned in trying to escape the stricken warship.

As well as starring in a number of comedy shows including Hyperdrive and Not Going Out, Miranda is also famous for her role in her BBC sitcom Miranda , which won 4 British Comedy Awards. She is also a straight actress and starred in the early series of Call the Midwife.

Beatrix Potter was inspired by Kents Cavern

Beatrix Potter was inspired by Kents Cavern in 1893

The children’s writer visited Kents Cavern in 1893 and many say it was the inspiration for her drawing of the entrance to Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s house.

She wrote after visiting the cave: “I can imagine no more unlikely or unromantic situation for a cavern. It is in a suburb of Torquay, half way up a tangle bluff, with villas and gardens overhanging the top of a muddy orchard and some filthily dirty cows in the ravine below.

“I was pretty much exhausted when we found it, but by dint of eating cinnamon and the excitement of going into a cave, recovered.

“The dilapidated wooden door was flush into the bank. Outside an artificial plateau or spoil-bank of slate, overgrown.”


Brit winner Ben Howard

Ben Howard

Ben Howard


Folk musician Ben Howard has topped the album charts and won two Brit awards.

The surfer/singer/songwriter, who is a Torquay Boys Grammar School old boy, moved to Totnes at the age of eight.

He easily picked up the drums and contrabass, but after some time he decided to focus on the guitar. After attending King Edward VI Community College and Torquay Boys’ Grammar Schoolhe began studying Journalism at University College Falmouth

Agatha Christie learned about poison in Torquay

The young Agatha Christie, right, roller-skating on Princess Pier, Torquay, before 1914-18 War.

Agatha Christie is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in English literature and she was born right here in Torquay in Barton Road. She loved to swim in the sea and was one of the first women ever to surf.

The renowned crime novelist, short story writer and playwright is a legend in the world of literature and is best known for the creation her fictional detective characters Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

Her 66 detective novels and 14 short-story collections have sold over two billion copies — an amount surpassed only by the Bible and the works of Shakespeare.

She was born in the town and lived there during her early years and there is an Agatha Christie Mile, a tour with plaques dedicated to her life and work.

During the First World War she served as a nurse at the Red Cross Hospital in the Town Hall and she later dispensed medicines at the hospital until the end of the war – giving her a lifelong knowledge of poisons.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel moved a Torquay road out of his way

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel


So famous he was chosen as the central figure in the opening of the Londond 20102 Olympics, played by Sir Kenneth Branangh.

The legendary British industrialist planned discovered the area while surveying for the Great Western Railway, and he and his family later spent many holidays in the town. He planned to retire to Torquay and bought up 500 acres areas of land at Watcombe Park, now known as Brunel Woods


It was because of Brunel that the coast road follows such a windy, circuitous route between Torquay and Teignmouth – Brunel didn’t want the road crossing his garden at Brunel Manor. Sadly he never saw the house and gardens finished as he died at the age of 53 before it was completed. Today it is run as a Christian holiday retreat.

Brunel had changed the face of the world with his groundbreaking Great West Railway, dockyards, steamships, bridges, tunnels and viaducts.


Charles Kingsley discovered Torquay’s hidden Hindu Caves

The Hindu Caves


In 1864 Livermead House was the home of Charles Kingsley (1819 – 1875) clergyman, naturalist and author best known for  ‘The Water Babies’. 

Born in the Dartmoor village of Holne, where his father was curate at the local church, Charles Kingsley knew Torquay  well. The author once described the resort as “the Italy of England”.

He named the ‘Hindu Caves’ – a wild swimming spot around the corner from Torre Abbey Sands at Livermead during the year he lived at Livermead House after his wife suffered a miscarriage. Doctors advised her to winter in salubrious South Devon and the couple spent many hours exploring the beach beneath the seafront house.

It sparked Kingsley to write an article which he later expanded into “Glaucus: or the Wonders of the Shore,” a popular children’s book celebrating the miracles of nature. 

Engraving portrait of Charles Kingsley

Engraving portrait of Charles Kingsley


The house where the poet Keats wrote much of his work

Keats’ House in Teignmouth, near The Ship Inn


Just up the coast, at Teignmouth, the poet John Keats made himself at home.

A plaque is on the wall of his terraced home at 20 Northumberland Terrace – now called Keats’ House – where he penned a lot of his work.

He liked Devon, but in a letter, he described it as a “splashy, rainy, misty, snowy,foggy, haily, floody, muddy, slipshod county.”

Model and muse Lily Cole

Lily Cole

Lily Cole

The Torquay-born red-head is most famously known for her modelling work with fashion brands including Alexandra McQueen, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Jean Paul Gaultier, however, she has also pursued a number of other ventures.

Not only did the supermodel graduate from King’s College, Cambridge with a double first in history of art but she is also the founder of socially networked gift economy website as well as a budding actress. In 2017 Cole portrayed Elizabeth I in Channel 5’s eponymous docu-drama that looked at the rule of the last monarch of the House of Tudor.


Peter Cook cared more for the Gulls than anything else

Peter Cook

Peter Cook and Lin Widdecombe

The Torquay comedian dubbed ‘the funniest man who ever drew breath’ is honoured with not one, but two, blue plaques in his home town.


Famed for his work with Dudley Moore and as the financial backer of Private Eye, he once told reporters at a crisis meeting over the future of Private Eye that he was far more concerned with how his beloved Torquay United Gulls would do in their match the next day.

There is a blue plaque close to the home in Middle Warberry Road where  Peter Cook  was born, and another at Plainmoor, home of Torquay United.


Rudyard Kipling wanted to dance naked through Torquay

Still one of the most popular British authors and poets – Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling and his wife lived at Rock House,  Maidencombe from 1896-1898 on his return from America.

Although he described the Rockhouse Lane house as his ‘dream home’ this was an unhappy spell for him, as he often suffered from depression.

He rented Rock House in Maidencombe, but despite its idyllic spot on cliffs overlooking the sea, he and his family were gripped by “a gathering blackness of mind and sorrow of the heart” every time they entered it.

Kipling’s experience undermined the Victorian view that the English Riviera was always good for the heath.

In a letter he wrote: “We are a rummy breed – and, O Lord, the ponderous wealthy society.  Torquay  is such a place as I do desire to upset by dancing through it with nothing on but my spectacles.

“Villas, clipped hedges and shaven lawns; fat old ladies with respirators and obese landaus. The almighty is a discursive and frivolous trifler compared with some of ’em … but the land is undeniably lovely and I am making friends with the farmers.”


Tennis ace and ‘Paignton Peach’ Sue Barker

Sue Barker famously learned to play tennis at the Palace Hotel

Before achieving fame as a top BBC sports presenter, Sue Barker was amongst the world’s top women tennis players in the 1970s and she won the French Open in 1976.

From Paignton, Sue’s career began under the eye of top Torquay coach Arthur Roberts at the Palace Hotel – now closed and about to be redeveloped.

After her career in tennis she became an inherent part of the BBC annual Wimbledon coverage and host of A Question of Sport.

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The King whose first Parliament was in Torbay

William of Orange statue on Brixham harbour

Prince William of Orange landed with 500 ships in Torbay and 14,000 troops at Brixham on November 5, 1688 and overthrew King James II in the ‘Quiet Revolution’. He was welcomed unopposed in the South West of England.

The Prince and his men brought fame to Newton Abbot by proclaiming his intention to become King for the first time. The declaration was read to the public at St Leonard’s and the future King then went to Forde House and was entertained by Sir  William Courtenay while his army was camped at Milber Down.

On the way William stopped and held his first Parliament at Longcombe, near Stoke Gabriel.

Where was Charles Babbage ‘The Father of the Computer’ really born?


Charles Babbage – the founder of modern computers

Babbage’s parents were from Totnes, his first school was in Exeter and he lived in Teginmouth. His son insisted that he was born in Teignmouth.

In the latest book on ‘The Father of the Compouter’ Lucy Simister writes that, while studying mathematics at Cambridge, Babbage was inspired to build a computer to aid shipping. He kept a yacht in Teignmouth harbour and had studied navigation and knew the calculations needed to get shipping in and out of the dangerous port.

He also knew that on board every ship was a person called the computer, responsible for calculating tide times, wind speed and ships’ draft laden and in ballast, the ships position whilst on passage and other computations. They relied on a logarithm table which was appallingly inaccurate. 

Charles wrote ‘what a breakthrough the corrections of these tables would mean to the safety of tens of thousands of ships’.

For the rest of his life he worked to perfect a ‘difference engine’ which was the basis for today’s computer technology. Sadly engineering was not ready for the leap forward in science.

Babbage was friends with Darwin and told the author of ‘The Origin of Species’ that he saw God as a deity that was constantly changing and updating species, like a programmer allowing for the evolution of nature to replace itself with a stronger species. Darwin agreed, saying he was coming to the same conclusion – which predates Darwin’s own theory on natural selection.

Both men were born before their time.


The haunted life of dancer Isadora Duncan

Dancer Isadora Duncan is one of the most tragic Devon women to grace the pages of the county’s history.

The legendary but controversial Isadora died horribly in 1927 after a silk scarf she was wearing caught around the wheel of an open top car, pulling her from the open car and breaking her neck.

In an earlier tragedy both of her children had drowned in the care of their nanny in 1913 when their runaway car went into the Seine in Paris.

Paris Singer, the wealthy heir to the Singer sewing machine empire, had properties at Redcliffe and Oldway. He spent many years and much of his fortune decorating Oldway Mansion in the style of the Palace of Versailles – painting the ceiling alone took six years.

The ornate interior at Oldway Mansion

The ornate interior at Oldway Mansion

Therefore when he fell in love with Isadora Duncan – one of the founders of modern dance – it was natural that he would eventually bring her to live in Devon where a huge mirrored ballroom was the centrepiece.

After the birth of their son Patrick Augustus on 1 May 1910, the summer was spent in Devon. It is easy to imagine Isadora, famously dressed in classical Greek robes, floating around the Italianate gardens and spacious ballroom at Oldwsay.

Recently when a ghostly figure was spotted at the window of the abandoned building, some thought it was the troubled spirit  of Isadora .

Campaigners working to restore the historic mansion had been hoping that the public would get their first chance to see inside the mansion for several years this month – but sadly open days have been scrapped for safety reasons.

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning – tragedy struck in Torquay

Elizabeth Barrett Browning lived in a house on Beacon Hill for three years

The poet and short story writer Elizabeth Barrett Browning stayed for around three years in Torquay – in Beacon Terrace to be exact. She was sent to the resort on her doctor’s advice, as it was felt the fresh air would improve her health.

But she hated the place. She arrived in Torquay in 1838, but her stay was a tragic one, as one of brothers drowned in an accident in Babbacombe Bay.

She is remembered for such poems as “How Do I Love Thee?” (Sonnet 43, 1845) and her work to abolish slavery.

Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo

Georgia Toffolo looked flawless

Georgia Toffolo looked flawless

Queen of the Jungle Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo was born in Torquay and her rise to fame started on the BAFTA award-winning channel 4 reality series Made in Chelsea.

The This Morning presenter denied she is now a millionaire. After winning ITV’s I’m a Celebrity get me out of Here, insiders predicted that Georgia would get a huge pay out in modelling and sponsorship deals, but the star insists that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The reality star told Femail that ‘it’s the most ridiculous rumour I have heard about myself is that I am worth £1M’.

Superstars Muse

Muse frontman Matt Bellamy paints a sheep guitar near his home in Teignmouth

Muse frontman Matt Bellamy paints a sheep guitar near his home in Teignmouth

The multi-award winning rock band Muse – Dominic Howard, Matt Bellamy and Chris Wolstenholme – all hail from Teignmouth. Matt still lives and farms on the hillside above Bishopsteignton and both of the other band members still have families in Teignmouth and love to come home.

As well as winning several prestigious awards including two Grammy’s, two Brit Awards and five MTV Europe Music Awards, the band have sold 20 million albums worldwide – not bad for a bunch of Devonshire dumplings!


Arthur Conan Doyle’s inspiration for the Hound of the Baskervilles

Holy Trinity Church at Buckfastleigh

Holy Trinity Church at Buckfastleigh

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s The Hound of the Baskervilles are

The creator of Sherlock Holmes used Dartmoor as the inspiration and backdrop for his most famous tale, the Hound of the Baskervilles.

He stayed in Princetown, while carrying out research for the book. There are many theories about where the book was based, but it is widely believed that Fox Tor Mire was the setting for the fictional Great Grimpen Mire.

The tale is thought to be based on the legend of local squire Richard Cabell, buried at Holy Trinity Church, Buckfastleigh. He had an evil reputation and legend has it that when he died in the 1670s, black dogs breathing fire raced across Dartmoor, howling.

Baskerville Hall itself may, in real life, be either Hayford Hall or Brook Manor – both of them near Buckfastleigh.

Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli loved the town


Benjamin Disraeli started to visit Torquay during the 1850s. Unlike Elizabeth Barrett Browning, he loved the town and came back many times, staying at the former Royal Hotel (later the Imperial Hotel). He was twice Prime Minister, before he died in 1881. He was bequeathed Mount Braddon, a villa on the Warberry hill, by an elderly widow friend in 1863 but sold it. The house was once an upmarket restaurant called Disraeli’s.


Oliver Heaviside

he Oliver Heaviside blue plaque on the house in Lower Warberry Road, Torquay , where he lived until his death in 1925.

The Oliver Heaviside blue plaque on the house in Lower Warberry Road, Torquay , where he lived until his death in 1925.

The mathematical genius lived in Lower Warberry Road, Torquay, in the 1920s.

He was an oddball, hermit-like figure to his neighbours but a hero in the world of science, who has craters on the Moon and Mars named after him, and is recognised as the man who laid the foundations of modern telecommunications whose research into electromagnetism transformed international communications.

He discovered the  Heaviside  Layer –  a layer of ionised gas occurring between roughly 90–150 km above the ground which reflects medium-frequency radio waves.

To this day his grave in Paignton cemetery is often visited by admirers, including many from America and Russia.

‘The wickedest man in the world’ Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley

One Torquay resident revelled in his reputation as an occult practitioner of ‘Magick’.

This was Aleister Crowley, (‘the wickedest man in the world’) who lived in Barton. Crowley (1875-1947) was responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema and is now seen as one of the most famous occultists of all time.

Crowley moved to Torquay to avoid the Blitz in London. Some described Crowley as a satanist and he used Satanic imagery and called himself ‘the Beast 666’.

Later in his life he sent ‘Antichristmas cards’ to friends.


Max Bygraves

Max Bygraves


In the 1960 when he was at the height of his fame as an ‘international entertainer’ Max Bygraves had a house in huge grounds at the far end of Ilsham Marine Drive in Torquay.

In the Sixties Torquay was the most glamorous seaside resort in the country as captured in this video (below) which also shows Val Doonican, Arthur Askey and Sid James playing golf.

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Jimmy Savile kept a penthouse suite at the Imperial Hotel

Jimmy Savile

But not all of Torquay’s visitors were wanted. After years of fame as a DJ, children’s TV presenter and charity worker, the truth finally emerged about Jimmy Savile’s dark, hidden lifestyle as a sex offender who preyed on vulnerable and young children.

Investigations into Savile after his death in 2011 estimated he assaulted hundreds of women and children – some as young as eight.

Savile kept a suite of rooms at the five star Imperial Hotel and was often seen in his trademark silver tracksuit on Torquay’s coastal paths around the holiday resort where he had holiday homes for 40 years. He He also had caravan homes at Dawlish and Shaldon.


Even Napoleon and Admiral Nelson were once in Torquay

An aerial view of Torbay

An aerial view of Torbay

After Napoleon was captured following the  Battle of Waterloo  he was held on the warship  HMS  Bellerophon , nicknamed  Billy Ruffian,  offshore in Torbay for two days.

Once word leaked out that Bonaparte was on board the whole of the free world swarmed on Torbay for a glimpse.

  It is said that on first sight of the Bay on the moring of July 24 1815 the former Emperor said “Quel Bon Pays” (“what a lovely country”)  and he compared it favourably to  Porto Ferrago  on  Elba.

In Ellis’ account: “They reached Torbay on 24th, where Maitland took up position near the Orestone whence his masts could be seen from Teignmouth Den over Hope’s Nose. In reply to his signals he was ordered to prohibit communication with the shore and await Admiralty orders three leagues out at sea.”

However, John Smart’s version shows the Bellerophon dropped anchor off Brixham, where a number of local victuallers sailed out in the hope of selling produce to the crew. Very soon, the man who once waged war across Europe soon became a must-see tourist attraction.

He often walked the ship’s decks, and was soon receiving gifts of flowers and fruit from well-wishers. 

At six o’clock the bell rang, dinner was announced, and he went below.

A Letter From Torbay published in ‘The News’ said: “Our jolly tars, with their usual good humour, put out a board chalked ‘he’s gone to dine’.

A letter from Napoleon’s guardian Lord Keith to the First Lord of the Admiralty informed him: “You cannot imagine what a crowd we have here. The inns are full and the sea covered with swarms of small boats. I conceive that I must be particularly vigilant, for the ‘General’ and his suite are convinced that once they set foot on shore, no power on earth can bring them back again. They are determined to disembark. It is all they talk of and they are becoming very aggressive.”

The reply from Lord Melville was unequivocal. “On no account,” was Lord Keith “to permit Bonaparte to come on shore.”


Napoleon also helped the prosperity of Torquay in another way: local smugglers did very good business ‘importing’ French brandy during the Napoleonic Wars and since then smuggling of one kind or another has not completely stopped.

 It was during these wars that  Admiral Nelson visited the town on 18 January 1801, visiting Torre Abbey Mansions and later dining in  Cockington.



Devon Live art show shortlist revealed – here are the nominations and how you can vote

The nominees for Devon Live’s art show have been revealed – here’s how you can vote for them

Voting for 2019 Local Art Show will be opening  very soon and the shortlisted artists will show off their work at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.

The winning artist will have their work displayed in one of the RAMM’s galleries (Gallery 22) from June 11 to 30, 2019.

The three art groups competing for the 2019 Devon Live art show are Exmouth Art Group, Teignmouth Art Society and Topsham Art Group.

In the coming weeks Devon Live will feature each of the art groups, showcasing some of their best work.

Rachel Sutton, Exeter’s lead councillor for economy and culture, said: “With the annual Local Art Show we aim to recognise, reward and foster creativity in the city.

“We hope that the Migration theme of the 2019 competition will inspire art groups in Devon to once again produce stunning work and another memorable exhibition. Following six-year’s support by the Express & Echo, this year’s sponsorship is by their digital sister, Devon Live. We are grateful for their support.”

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  • There are a number of family-friendly pubs in Exeter that will show the big game this weekend

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The 2019 exhibition will have a theme centred on ‘Migration’.

Previous winners

  • Double Elephant Print Workshop (2017)

  •  Flying Colours (2016)

  •  Topsham Art Group (2015)

  • Sense (2014)

  • Hive Art Group (2013)

  • Fairstream Arts (2012)

The winning group will be announced on  Thursday, May 9, 2019.

Hundreds of town and parish councillors have already been elected but not enough people wanted to stand

Residents all across Devon are set to go to the polls on May 2 to elect new district, town and parish councillors – but hundreds of councillors have already been elected unopposed.

The whole of the district councils in East Devon, Torridge, North Devon, Teignbridge, South Hams, Mid Devon and West Devon are up for elections, as is 1/3 of Exeter City Council.

All of the town and parish councils across the county are also up for election – but in the majority of cases, candidates have already been elected unopposed.

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Local Elections 2019

Across Devon, candidates in 377 wards for town and parish councils will be elected unopposed. From May 2, they will take their seats on the town and parish councils and will be given the power to co-opt additional councillors onto the council if fewer candidates were nominated than seats are available.

At a district council level, three candidates in East Devon, one in Mid Devon, and two in Torridge will be elected in uncontested elections.

In only 90 wards has there been enough candidates nominated so that elections are required to take place.

Here is a list across Devon of where town and parish councils will be contested and where they are uncontested.

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Dawlish man charged with 12 counts of rape and drugs offences

A Dawlish man will appear in court to face 12 counts of rape on the same woman.

James Brooks of Park Road, Dawlish, will face 25 charges in total, including controlling a woman by “making threats, assaulting, supplying drugs and alcohol and emotionally blackmailing”, assault, two counts of attempted rape, four counts of arranging or facilitating travel of the woman “with a view to her being exploited”, two counts of supplying class A drug, two counts of conspiring with others to supply class A drugs and one count of conspiring with others to supply class B drug cannabis.

In total, 12 people appeared at Plymouth Magistrates Court over a three-day period late last month after a series of drug raids by police in South Devon, Liverpool and Sunderland.

Officers from the serious and organised crime team, the force support group and local neighbourhood team forced entry to a number of properties in Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot and Chudleigh and seized a quantity of class A and B drugs, together with cash, weapons, motor vehicles and jewellery.

The conspiracy charges relating to the conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis include

  • Keiron Archbold, aged 21, of Coronation Avenue, Dawlish
  • John White, aged 35, of Lower Trindle Close, Chudleigh
  • John Jackson, aged 29, of Lower Brimley Road, Dawlish
  • Lewis Williams, aged 20, of Springwood Avenue, Liverpool

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  • Marvin Grant, aged 32, of Fir Avenue, Liverpool
  • Ross Morton, aged 31, of West View, Roker, Sunderland
  • Nazrul Islam, aged 35, of Somerset Place, Teignmouth
  • Martin Turner, aged 41, of Shakleton Walk, Teignmouth

Morton also faces two counts of rape of a woman and three counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs – namely cocaine – with White, Islam, Archbold, Grant, Williams and Stephen Green, aged 37, of Prospect Terrace, Newton Abbot and John Trott, aged 36, of Shackleton Walk, Teignmouth.

Islam also faces two counts of raping a woman and possession of ammunition for a firearm without a certifiate.

Lewis Longhorn, aged 24, of Dawlish Park Terrace, Exmouth faces one count of raping a woman and one count of attempting to rape a woman.

Trott also faces two counts of rape of a woman, one of which is a joint charge with Brooks. In addition he is charged with possessing 4.2 grams of cannabis.

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Green also faces four counts of rape all jointly charged with Brooks. He is also charged with criminal damage.

The offences are understood to have taken place between May 2016 and September 2018.

Watch the video below to discover what happens during a trial

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After appearing at Plymouth Magistrate’s Court all the men were remanded into custody to next appear at Exeter Crown Court on April 25.


Teignmouth’s Goldfish Bowl set to be revamped by team behind Exeter’s cool nightspot

An unused building on Teignmouth seafront is set to become a swanky new restaurant.

A group of four friends are planning to create a bar and cafe serving cocktails and street food from the old council building known as the Goldfish Bowl.

Patrick Fogarty and Tom Cullen, who own Doctor Ink’s Curiosities cocktail bar on Exeter Quay are behind the venture together with Teignmouth lifeboatman James Cassidy and  Ben Thompson, a marketing expert who recently shot and filmed the movie ‘The Drifters’ in Teignmouth last summer.

Mr Fogarty, with his wife Dee, also owns Bronx Bar and Cue in Teignmouth.

Their business, Pierhead Cafes & Bars Ltd, plans to launch ready for the summer season serving fresh juices, teas, cocktails and street food.

The name of the new bar has yet to be revealed.

Mr Fogarty said: “Pierhead aims to provide an informal, friendly atmosphere combined with great service; which will transition easily from breakfast through to dark o’clock. It will also be a hub to support local events and groups, providing a vibrant venue during the many festivals and community-run events.

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“The design will incorporate bold colours, washed woods and custom furniture reflecting the founders’ passion for the vibrant cultures of the Pacific. Importantly, it will bring the otherwise unused building to life through the day and evening with significant investment.”

The plans are set to go before Teignbridge Council’s planning committee on Tuesday April 16 and will bring new life to the unused council building, currently used for storage on Teignmouth Seafront.

It hopes to open from 7 am to midnight Monday to Friday and 8am to 11 pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

It is part of plans by Teignbridge Council to regenerate the seafront by inviting businesses to occupy the vacant buildings.

And it comes as the nearby Beachcomber cafe remains empty amid a legal row after a devastating fire in July 2017.

Watch the video below to discover the six steps to a planning application

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This new venture is being led by four Teignmouth locals.

Tom Cullen has spent the last 20 years developing new concepts and roll outs for some of the largest food and drink brands in the UK. Patrick Fogarty has been an owner and operator in the top end of the hospitality sector throughout his career. As well as being a member of Teignmouth lifeboat, entrepreneur James Cassidy is a coach in the junior section at Teignmouth Rugby Club. Ben Thompson is a marketing expert and film maker.

The plans received one letter of objection and are being recommended for approval subject to conditions.


Teignbridge District Council 2019 election candidates

The list of candidates who are set to stand in the May elections for Teignbridge District Council have been confirmed.

Voters will on May 2 go to the polls to elect their 47 councillors for the next four years – one more councillor that currently comprises the council.

The council is currently run by the Conservative Party, who hold 23 seats, with the Liberal Democrats holding 16, the Independents six, with one vacant seat. Candidates from Labour, UKIP and the Green Party are standing in May’s election.

Of the current 45 councillors, 42 are set to stand again. The trio of Conservatives who are not standing are Stuart Barker, the current portfolio holder for corporate resources, in the Ashburton and Buckfastleigh ward, Vince Fusco, in the Teignmouth East ward, and Ted Hockin, the chairman of the Licensing Committee, in the Dawlish North East ward.


Ann Jones, who currently represents the College ward, is standing in the Bushell ward instead.

Jacqui Orme, who currently represents the Conservatives in the Teignmouth Central ward, is standing as an Independent in May’s elections, although she remains listed as a Conservative party councillor at present on the council’s website.

The full list of candidates standing is below. Candidates with a * next to their name are the current councillor for the ward.

Polling stations open at 7am



Tessa Amies (Lib Dem)

Richard Butterworth (Con)

Mary Colclough (Ind) *

Margaret Crompton (Lib Dem)

Richard Daws (Ind)

Dennis Smith (Con) *


Huw Cox (Lib Dem)

Charlie Dennis (Con) *

James Dennis (Ind)

Zoe Ellis (Ind)

Shane Fleming (Con)

Anne Goulborn (Lab)

Patrick Howard (Lab)

Jack Major (Lib Dem)

John Nutley (Lib Dem) *

Sarah Parker-Khan (Con)

Sylvee Phillips (Ind)

Andy Stokes (Lab)

Philip Vogel (Ind)


Timothy Golder (Con) *

Andrew MacGregor (Lib Dem)

Llew Williams (UKIP)


Martyn Evans (Con)

George Gribble (Con) *

Susie Honnor (Lab)

Eoghan Kelly (Ind)

Avril Kerswell (Con) *

Sally Morgan (Lib Dem)

Lisa Robillard Webb (Lab)
Ian Wellens (Lab)


Phil Bullivant (Con) *

Jamie Cook (Lab)

Brian Hayes (Lib Dem)

Mike Hocking (Ind) *

Richard Jenks (Lib Dem)

Mark Langabeer (Lab)

Liz Roberts (Con)


Christopher Coyle-Moore (Con)

Jane Haden (Lab)

Steven Harvey (UKIP)

Jonathan Hodgson (Con)

Gordon Hook (Lib Dem) *

Chris Jenks (Lib Dem)

James Osben (Lab)

Rheanne Osben (Lab)

Colin Parker (Lib Dem) *

Eloise Rokirilov (Ind)

Reg Winsor (Con) *

Stephen Witts (UKIP)


Anthony Ballinger (Con)

Kirk Field (Ind)

Ryan Hall (Lab)

Rob Hayes (Lib Dem) *

Jackie Hook (Lib Dem) *

Ann Jones (Ind)

Simon Walker (Con)

Pauline Wynter (Lab)

Dogs at Polling Stations - this one in Plymouth this morning

A dog at a polling station in Plymouth last year


Joe Blurton (Lab)

Lorraine Evans (Lib Dem) *

Richard Keeling (Lib Dem) *

Janette Parker (Lab)

Gina Sherwood (Con)

Emily Simcock (Gre)

Chris Yeo (Con)


Janet Bradford (Ind)

Olly Giddings (Lab)

John Gynn (UKIP)

David Howe (INd)

Mike Joyce (Lib Dem)

Liam Mullone (Ind)
John Phillips (Con)

Mike Pilkington (Lib Dem)

Paul Wynter (Lab)

Nicolas Yabsley (Con)


Lin Goodman-Bradbury (Lib Dem)

Gabi Humphries (Gre)

Lisa Mayne (Con) *

Noel Nickless (Con)

Kevin Parsons (Con)

Linda Petherick (Lib Dem)

Judy Wood (UKIP)

Martin Wrigley (Lib Dem) *


Humphrey Clemens (Con) *

John Petherick (Lib Dem)

Rosalind Prowse (Con) *

Gary Taylor (Lib Dem)

John Watson (Gre)

Ray Wood (UKIP)


Jeremy Christophers (Con) *

Philip Cunningham (Lab)

Jessica Hodge (Ind)

Adrian Patch (Ind)

Robert Steemson (Ind)


Alistair Dewhirst (Lib Dem) *

Lloyd Fursdon (Con)


Alison Foden (Lib Dem)

John Goodey (Con) *

Anthony Krys (Lab)

Sarah Krys (Lab)

Kevin Lake (Con) *

Charles Nuttall (Lib Dem)

Andrew Swain (Lid Dem)

Adrian Wood (Con)


Lucille Baker (Con)

Alan Connett (Lib Dem) *

Megan Debenham (Gre)


Sheila Cook (Lib Dem) *

Mike Haines (Ind) *

Andrew Hartley (Con)

Fiona Muddeman (Con)

Cameron Whitford (Lib Dem)


Beryl Austen (Ind) *

Marie Chadwick (Lib Dem)

David Corney-Walker (Lib Dem)

Jennie Osborne (Gre)

Ron Peart (Con)

Robert Perry (Con)


Philip Chadwick (Lib Dem)

Tony Dempster (Ind)

Jackie Hooper (UKIP)

Sam Morfey (Con)

Dave Rollason (Lib Dem) *

Bill Thorne (Con) *

MORETONHAMPSTEAD WARD (1 SEAT) (Previously known as Moorland)

John Farrand-Rogers (Lib Dem)

Mike Jeffery (Con) *

Brian McAuley (Lab)


Colin Baigent (Lab)

Chris Clarance (Con) *

Julie Gregory (Lib Dem)


Karen Chaplin (Lib Dem)

Briony Falch (Lib Dem)

Mary McFarlane (Gre)

Mick Megee (Lab)

Stephen Purser (Con)

Terry Tume (Con)


Lilian Chasteau (Lab)

Noah Chasteau (Lab)

Alison Eden (Lib Dem) *

David Gunn (UKIP)

Jacqui Orme (Ind) *

Keith Underhill (Con)

Peter Williams (Lib Dem)


Bruce Mattock (Lab)

Robert Phipps (Con)

Sylvia Russell (Con) *

Catriona Thomas (Lib Dem)

Marilyn Warrener (Lab)

Topher Whitlock (UKIP)

Brian Wright (Lib Dem)


Colin Authers (Ind)

David Cox (Lib Dem) *

June Green (Con)

Jackie Jackson (Lab)

Nina Jeffries (Lib Dem)

Dave Matthews (Con) *

Jeff Pocock (Lab)

Gerrie Williams (UKIP)


Schoolgirl injured in hit-and-run joins protest to stop ‘rat run’ for cars

A 12-year-old schoolgirl who was knocked sideways by a speeding car in a hit-and-run on her way to school is joining a group calling for road safety changes.

Mum Anna Bruen said her daughter was ‘very,very lucky’ to escape with bruising to her leg and arm as her classmates heard the ‘woosh’ of the speeding car and caught her as she fell.

The incident happened on a back route being used by drivers trying to escape the Teignmouth Bitton Park Road holdups at rush hour.

It is also the route the school recommends for pupils to use in order to avoid the high levels of pollution on Bitton Park Road.

The junction of Landscore Road leading to the Keatings Lane cut through

The junction of Landscore Road leading to the Keatings Lane cut through

A petition has been set up by Amy McCarthy calling for an end to the Rat Run.

Amy said she is calling on Devon County Council to:

  1. Close Keatings Lane to motor traffic, except for access.
  2. Introduce a 20 limit on Landscore Road
  3. Create traffic calming on Landscore Road

Teignmouth Community School pupils and their parents have now lobbied councillors, calling for road safety improvements to Landscore Road and Keatings Lane in Teignmouth.

The hit-and-run happened last Friday on the corner of Landscore Road and Grove Road, where there is very little pavement.

Recently there was another near miss, leaving a second girl frightened. Parents say there are more and more incidents, that make them fear for their children’s safety.


Councillor David Cox has added an agenda item to be discussed at tonight’s meeting of Teignmouth Town Council on Tuesday April 2 at 6.30pm. A statement from a group of the pupils will be read to the Council. 

Cllr Cox said: “We need to listen to these young citizens and act on their concerns. They have shown a maturity beyond their years, in campaigning on this very important matter.”

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Teignmouth Community School head James O’Connell said: “I am really impressed by the way TCS pupils have put a well-argued and researched case across to civic leaders. I hope the town council will support our pupil’s plea and we can build a coalition for road safety changes with local police and the school.”

Watch the video below for advice on what to do if you are involved in a collision

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Mrs Bruen, who is herself a teacher, said it was the moment every parent dreads when she had a call to say her daughter had been hit by a car on the way to school.

“Something needs to be done urgently, our children’s lives are at risk. This is the route authorities recommend our children use to walk to school, to avoid poor air quality along Bitton Park Road, yet our children are at far more risk from speeding drivers than pollution.”


Parent Any McCarthy said: “ Landscore Road and Keatings Lane have no pavement, it is the main route to walk to school. It is also the route recommend to avoid pollution along Bitton Park Road. However it is also a  rat run  for drivers seeking to avoid the traffic queues on Bitton Park Road. Many choose to speed along Landscore without any regard for pedestrians. Closing Keatings Lane except for access and a 20 limit on Landscore Road would end the  rat run  and make the road a lot safer.”

Police are asking members of the public to come forward if they haveany information about the hit-and-run incident.



We should leave the EU on April 12 with a ‘No Deal Brexit’


In February 2017 a majority of MPs passed a motion to leave the EU on 29th March 2019 with or without a deal, and that is a commitment I have stood by these past two years. The date we are to leave the EU has now moved from the 29th March to the 12th April, as a deal has still not been agreed. Any further extension to renegotiate a deal would need the approval of the House and the EU.

While I wanted us to negotiate a good deal and agreement with the EU, I have taken the view that the Withdrawal Agreement on offer from the Prime Minister is not good enough, the threat of being caught in the backstop is too great, and therefore, I believe the path to take is the legal default position of leaving without a deal. We would then be able to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU from outside the Union.


If the Withdrawal Agreement were to pass through the House, the UK would have a customs union as a starting point for future negotiations with the EU. It would see us under the jurisdiction of the European courts and voiceless within EU institutions while still having to abide by EU rules. Under a customs union, we would not be able to strike trade deals with other countries and if we did not agree to the EU terms offered, Northern Ireland would be in a separate regulatory area to the rest of the UK.

Anne Marie Morris MP

Anne Marie Morris MP

Everything the EU wants is legally binding within the Withdrawal Agreement and everything the UK wants out of a new relationship with our neighbours is a mere promise to discuss it at some point in the future.

It is a one-sided agreement that does not protect the UK’s economic interests or sovereignty. We would have no unilateral right because of the backstop to walk away if negotiations failed. This is why I will continue not to support the deal.


As a result of the Withdrawal Agreement failing three times to gain a majority of support among Parliamentarians, there have been louder calls to now move to a ‘softer’ Brexit and remain in a customs union with the EU and the single market.

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Over the past fortnight the House of Commons held multiple votes considering a wide variety of options as a way forward on Brexit. MPs voted on a host of options including revoking Article 50, joining the European Free Trade Area, joining the Customs Union, holding a second referendum, and pursuing no deal.

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All were voted down. Parliament did vote against no deal but as the Prime Minister has often reminded us, the only way to leave that avoids no deal is to agree on a deal we want that the EU will also grant. At the time of asking Parliament has failed to agree a majority for anything else and no deal remains the legal default.

Anne Marie Morris MP

Anne Marie Morris MP

I expect there to be further calls for the UK to pursue a customs union arrangement with the EU despite there being no majority for it based on the indicative votes. I would vote against any such bill. The Cabinet should instead agree to our exit on April 12 without the Withdrawal Agreement.


I believe it is right to fulfil the democratic mandate given to me during the 2016 referendum, the biggest democratic exercise in British history, and the 2017 General Election, where I stood on a manifesto to leave the EU.

I will continue to support leaving the EU as soon as possible on WTO terms with the aim of later negotiating a free trade deal. This is an option we are prepared for. Outside the EU’s regulatory control a well-designed trade, agriculture, immigration, and fishing policy regime would give us an excellent chance of delivering significant longstanding benefits to our communities and our economy.

Twelve in court charged with multiple drug offences after raids in South Devon

Twelve people have appeared in court after a series of police drugs raids in South Devon, Liverpool and Sunderland.

Officers from the Serious and Organised Crime team, the Force Support Group and local Neighbourhood team forced entry to a number of properties in Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot and Chudleigh on Wednesday last week.

They seized a quantity of what is believed to be Class A and B drugs, together with cash, weapons, motor vehicles and jewellery.

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In total 16 people across the three areas were arrested. Four have since been released under investigation pending further enquires and 12 charged with offences including conspiracy to supply Class A, assault, and criminal damage.

Police have now named the defendants, who have all appeared before magistrates in Plymouth.

They are:

  • Keiron Archbold, 21, of Coronation Avenue, Dawlish
  • John White, 35, of Lower Trindle Close, Chudleigh
  • John Jackson, 29, of Gatehouse Close, Dawlish
  • Lewis Williams, 20, of Springwood Avenue, Liverpool
  • Marvin Grant, 32, of Fir Avenue, Liverpool
  • Ross Morton, 31, of West View, Roker, Sunderland
Stock image of police conducting a drugs raid

Stock image of police conducting a drugs raid

  • Nazrul Islam, 35, of Inerteign Heights, Teignmouth
  • James Brooks, 40, of Park Road, Dawlish
  • Stephen Green, 37, of Prospect Terrace, Newton Abbot
  • Lewis Longhorn, 24, Dawlish Park Terrace. Exmouth
  • John Trott, 36, Shackleton Walk, Teignmouth
  • Martin Turner, 41, of no fixed abode
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Four others arrested have since been released under investigation. They are:

  • 24-year-old woman from Dawlish
  • 43-year-old man from Exeter
  • 24-year-old man from Sunderland
  • 21-year-old woman from Sunderland